Yesterday’s Headlines in Light of Biblical Prophecy – Program 6
| October 10, 2013 |
|By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Hal Lindsey, the late Dr. David Breese, Dave Hunt, Dr. Renald Showers, Dr. Randall Price; ©2002|
|Does the Bible say there will ever be peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs? What about Jerusalem? Will Israel ever share the city peacefully with anyone?|
Questions Skeptics Ask about Bible Prophecy
- Announcer: The Israeli-Arab conflict has been raging for 53 years. Suicide bombers, brutal attacks and reprisals are causing many people to wonder, “Is peace possible in the Middle East?”
- Arafat: “We know but one word – Jihad, Jihad, Jihad, Jihad.”
- Jimmy DeYoung: I believe that we’re at a spot in history when there is no way there is going to be peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. They want war.
- Hal Lindsey: Well, there are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world and there’s only one thing that unifies them. They disagree over many things, but they all agree that they must liberate Jerusalem and destroy Israel.
- Announcer: Today, Dr. John Ankerberg looks at world events from 1991 to the present in light of biblical prophecy.
- Dr. John Ankerberg: Everywhere that I’ve gone in the last months of time, people are saying, “How do the events that are taking place in the Middle East, how do they square with what the Bible is saying?”
- Lindsey: This is the first time in history that all of the prophetic scenario the prophets predicted would come together just before the return of Christ is actually in view.
- Dr. David Breese: Jesus, when He delineated these things said, “And when you see these things begin”—not end but begin—“to come to pass, then lift up your heads and look up because your redemption draws nigh.”
- DeYoung: Now, the Bible says all of that. I’m telling you what current events are in reality, but God’s Word prophesied over 2,500 years ago that’s the situation we’d be in the end times when all these nations, when all these people want to go against Israel and wipe them off the face of the earth.
- Lindsey: I believe that the Bible is very clear that the last war of the world will start with a war over Jerusalem.
- Announcer: What does the God of the Bible say will happen in the future? We invite you to join us for this very special program.
- Ankerberg: How do the events that are taking place in the Middle East fit into the biblical picture of where history is headed? Are the events that we are watching today signs that indicate Christ’s return to earth is near? To answer these questions, I want to go back to interviews we’ve conducted over the past twelve years when major world events, such as the Gulf War, have occurred. Maybe you find it strange to even think about the idea that world events could be predicted in advance and actually lead up to Jesus Christ’s return. If so, I invite you to listen to a discussion we had when we talked about the questions skeptics ask Christians about biblical prophecy. Listen:
- Ankerberg: Our topic is “Current World Events and Biblical Prophecy.” Everywhere that I’ve gone in the last months of time, whether it’s the airline stewardesses, or the barber, or wherever you go people are saying, “How do the events that are taking place in the Middle East, how do they square with what the Bible is saying?” And that’s what we’re talking about. And, Hal, I’m going to come to you as we begin this topic, “What does the Bible have to say will happen to the nation of Israel?” You have said in your books that one of the most important signs that would signal Jesus Christ’s return to earth would be near is the nation of Israel itself. That it would sort of start the prophetic time clock moving, ticking, and when we see that, boy, our antenna better go up. Tell us what you mean.
- Lindsey: Well, the whole centerpiece of the prophetic scenario rests around the nation of Israel. There are three things the Bible predicted would happen to the people of Israel just shortly before the return of Christ. First, there would be the miraculous rebirth of the state of Israel physically; second, they would recapture old Jerusalem and have sovereign control over it; third, they will rebuild the temple.
- Ankerberg: In spite of this information, there are other people that are skeptical about prophecy—inside the Church and outside of the Church—that are listening tonight. And they would say, “Listen, down through the years preachers have always talked about these signs and they have said, ‘Hey, they apply to our generation.’ Now you guys are coming along and you’re going to talk about the cataclysmic world events and the signs in prophecy that point to this generation being the generation that Christ would return. How do you know that you’re any different than any of those other preachers down through the years that have already said that and they weren’t correct?”
- Lindsey: Well, John, this is the first time in history that all of the prophetic scenario the prophets predicted would come together just before the return of Christ is actually in view. There were times during World War II, for instance, when there were many who said Hitler was the Antichrist; Mussolini was the False Prophet; and they put together a pretty good scenario. But there were always sober men of Scripture like Dr. Harry Rimmer who wrote in 1940 a book called The Coming War with Russia and in that book he said, “This cannot be the time of Christ’s return for one very, very primary reason and that is, Israel is not a nation.” And since that time, though, in this generation we have seen, since May 14, 1948, the rebirth of the state of Israel against literally impossible odds. People scattered for more than 2,000 years throughout the world, relentlessly persecuted everywhere they went, and even just before they became a state, the British Empire who had the mandate, completely tried to disarm them and they left the Arabs fully armed and yet this nation, in spite of that, not only won that war but has won four wars against the combined might of the Arab world. Just by contrast, it took the combined power of the Allies to defeat just one of those nations and it took us seven weeks. In 1967 it took Israel six days to defeat all of them. Well, they are the centerpiece of this prophetic scenario. The Bible said that when this would happen there would be other spheres of political power that would come together at just that time. In the south there would be a pan-Arabic power that would be disunited but would find reason for union in their common desire to destroy the state of Israel.
- Ankerberg: And, Dave Hunt, in your book I was fascinated that you picked up on the skeptics’ questions and you said, “There are some things that if any person will read the Bible now and look at the signs that Jesus was talking about, you will realize these signs have never applied or been applicable to any other generation but ours today.” Give us a few of them.
- Hunt: Okay. In Matthew 24:21, 22, Jesus said there would be “great tribulation such as never was before nor ever shall be.” And then verse 22 says, “And except those days be shortened no flesh would survive.” Now, you couldn’t understand that prophecy in any generation before ours. You don’t wipe out all flesh with bows and arrows and swords and spears, not even conventional weapons of World War II. But our generation is the first generation in the history of the world that has the weapons, not just the nuclear weapons but the biological, the chemical weapons—we could turn planet Earth into a sterile bit of dust drifting through space with no life at all on it. That prophecy didn’t make sense in any generation except ours. In Revelation 13, verses 16 and 17, it says that, “He causeth all, both small and great to receive a mark and that no man can buy or sell except those who have the mark.” Now again, you didn’t have, we didn’t have, the world didn’t have the capability of controlling all banking and commerce, buying and selling. I mean, you couldn’t possibly do that in any previous generation; that didn’t make sense. But in our generation it makes sense. We’ve got the EDP—the Electronic Data Processing; we’ve got the computers, the communications satellites, the whole thing is set up and we know we’re moving in that direction. It says in Revelation 13, verse 4, “They will worship the dragon who gave him his power” —the Antichrist his power. The whole world is going to worship Satan?! That’s what it says. You wouldn’t imagine that in previous generations. Satan worship is the fastest growing movement among our young people today. It goes on and says in verse 8, “All the world will worship him.” The whole world worship a man!? That didn’t make sense. But we’ve had the gurus come here—the god-men from India, Rajneesh and so forth—we’ve seen people bowing down and worshiping a man as God. I mean, I can go on and on, but these are some of the things that never made sense in any generation. They now make sense.
- Ankerberg: Now, how to world events relate to the biblical promise that Christ will return to earth? I’d like you to listen:
- Ankerberg: Dr. Breese, you have also written a book and you’ve talked about these signs. Tell us about them.
- Breese: Well, I think, John, first of all in response to the skeptics we ought to note the word of assurance that we have in Scripture that we have “a more sure word of prophecy unto which you’d do well to take heed as to a light that shines in a dark place until the day dawn and the day star arises in your hearts.” The only way we can know the future is to look into the prophetic Word. And then, as relates to the coming of Christ, perhaps we need to establish the fact that when we think of the return of Christ, we need to think of His Return in two senses: first of all, Christ comes at the end of the Church Age for His Church and then the body of Christ is taken out of the world to heaven. That period is succeeded by the Tribulation which is the first part of the Day of the Lord, and at the end of that seven-year period of Tribulation Christ comes with His saints. When He comes for His saints, Paul describes that as saying, “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the trump of God. The dead in Christ shall rise first and we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them who are asleep. The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, the voice of the archangel, the trump of God. The dead in Christ shall rise first and we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” There is a generation of Christians that will not die. “Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” Now, in that we look forward to the Rapture of the Church, which is the time when the Body of Christ is taken from the world, we need to remember that the signs that are given to us in Scripture basically apply to the return of Christ in power and great glory. But like some prophetic scholars have said, “If Christmas is coming, Thanksgiving is coming sooner” —that is, the signs that point to those days of the Tribulation certainly imply that the Rapture, coming sooner, should be the object of our expectation. Let me mention five signs that Christ mentions in Matthew 24: “The disciples approached Him and they asked, ‘What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the age?’” They knew that the age would end with the coming of Christ; they were not Utopians and the rest of it. They knew that Christ presided above history. So Jesus said, first of all, remember two things that will always obtain: One, “many shall rise in my name saying, ‘I am Christ.’” There will be the possibility of religious subversion at all times. Secondly, He said, There will be “wars and rumors of wars,” or a constantly unstable social structure, and that from that time until the time of the end. But then He mentioned five signs characterizing the beginning of sorrows: “Nation shall rise against nation…” —the word is ethnos. It means “racial warfare.” “…Kingdom against kingdom” —wars across the world. “Famine, pestilence, earthquakes.” We used to think these things were beyond us because we live in a modern society.
- Ankerberg: Now, as Dr. Dave Breese just said in that interview, one of the signs that Jesus predicted would signal His return to earth was near, would be: “Nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.” There will be wars across the world, and specifically, Israel will find itself in a situation in the end times when the nations of the world are unhappy with Israel and allow others to take action against them which could eliminate them as a nation. In 1998, I conducted an interview with an international news correspondent and we talked about why the Oslo Accords didn’t seem to be working and how this related to biblical prophecy. I’d like you to listen:
- DeYoung: Current events back up everything he said. I hold here the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan and the other peace agreements that are not really working. They’re not being normalized as they’re supposed to be. And in fact, after the Palestinian Oslo Accord was signed, in the last five years that it has been in force there have been more Jewish people killed by terrorists than there were in the 45 years previous to the signing of that particular agreement.
- So the peace agreements are not working. They are not guaranteeing peace in any way, shape, or form. Terrorism is running rampant in the Middle East and, by the way, America was touched with terrorism in their embassies there in Africa, so we had a taste of it. But that is only going to increase. When you look at the terrorists associated with Israel: Hezbollah, just in the southern portion of Lebanon, which are attacking the northern part of Israel. In the infrastructure of Israel itself you have Islamic Jihad and you have Hamas. And their stated goals–it’s not a question of do we really have to find out what their philosophy is–their stated goal is, “We want to rid the world of the Jewish people and we’ll do that if we have to in bits and pieces.” Yasser Arafat who makes one statement to us and another statement to his people is basically calling for Islamic Jihad, he is calling for war. You know, the Palestinian Covenant, over 30 clauses in that covenant which calls for the demise of the Jewish people, the destruction of the state of Israel.
- They say they’ve changed it. They play back and forth word games. The President of the United States has Arafat several years ago into the White House to announce they’ve changed the covenant. And still, later on, at the Wye plantation, for example, that was one of the sticking points: you’ve got to change the covenant. Well, if you change the covenant, it doesn’t matter because the Palestinian educational system is infiltrated with every bit of the philosophy in the covenant and they’re teaching the children—I’m talking about children starting at six years of age through high school—they’re teaching them the philosophy that was contained within the Palestinian Covenant. “These people don’t belong here. We belong here.”
- Yasser Arafat said several years ago, “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to take this thing in stages. Whatever they will give us at the negotiating table, we’ll take that and we’ll use that then to launch our attack on the Jewish people.” When you look at the build-up of military might in the Arab world, it’s unbelievable! I mean, never before has there been such armament in the Middle East in the hands of men who are known terrorists, even the Palestinian hands themselves. They’re bringing all kinds of weapons from Egypt. Now they’re going to have a seaport. They have an airport. They can fly the weapons in. I say to you that we’re on the verge of war. Now, the Bible says all of that.
- I’m telling you what current events are in reality, but God’s Word prophesied over 2,500 years ago that’s the situation we’d be in the end times when all these nations, when all these people want to go against Israel and wipe them off the face of the earth and take that little piece of property. When you think about less than one-tenth of one percent of the population of the world, less than five million Jewish people, are surrounded in their one little nation by 23 nations of over 350 million people. Why is it that they can’t coexist in a peaceful atmosphere? It’s because God’s Word says their hearts and their minds are going to be deceitful and gartered with joyful hearts they’re going to go forth to rid the world of the Jewish people. That’s where we are right now.
- Ankerberg: Again, is it possible that Christ could return to earth soon? The biblical answer is, “Yes.” Why? I’d like you to listen:
- Lindsey: This is the first time in history that all of the prophetic scenario the prophets predicted would come together just before the return of Christ is actually in view.
- Breese: Jesus, when He delineated these things said, “And when you see these things begin” —not end but begin—“to come to pass, then lift up your heads and look up because your redemption draws nigh.”
- Hunt: God has said that He is the God of prophecy. We’re not coming up with some philosophical proof of the existence of God. But that He foretells the future. You will not find prophecy in the Hindu Vedas, the Mahabbarata, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana. You don’t find it in the Qur’an. You won’t find it in the Book of Mormon. You will not find it in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. You will find it only in this book, the Bible. And what God says comes to pass. And this is the identifying characteristic of this God, His proof to the world.
- Now, we better take very seriously a man who rose from the dead. Buddha’s tomb is occupied. Muhammad’s is occupied. Jesus left an empty tomb, and He said, “I’m coming back.” We better take Him seriously.
- Now, you asked about some of the signs. One of them, for example, He said a day was coming when a great tribulation would come upon this earth, and it would be so horrible, that unless He intervened to stop the destruction, no flesh would survive.
- Ankerberg: We talked about God’s purposes for all of these prophetic events. Why did Jesus die on the cross? How does that fit into God’s plan? And why is that the real security for anybody that is listening—not political leaders, not our money, not our wealth, not even our health—but that Jesus Christ really is God’s solution to the human dilemma, not only on a national basis, worldwide basis, but for every individual. Why did Jesus die on the cross? How does that relate to the people that are listening?
- Showers: He really died for a twofold purpose, and one is to provide, as a free gift, by the grace of God, full forgiveness of sin and eternal life for those who, as Jimmy has said before, will acknowledge the fact, “I am a sinner who stands condemned before a Holy God. There are no works I can do to cancel out my sins, make me acceptable to God. I need a Savior.” And acknowledge that Jesus Christ, because He died for my sins personally on the cross and then was buried, and then rose bodily from the dead three days later–He’s the Savior, and therefore, I must put my trust in Him and Him alone to be the Savior for my sin and to give me eternal life. And so that’s why He died for us personally.
- The second purpose is so God could accomplish His purpose for history. In order for God to fulfill His purpose for history, sometime during the course of world history He had to deal with the whole problem of human sin and provide a way of getting rid of it. And Jesus Christ was that solution, His coming to die for the sins of the world. And so because Jesus came, in His first coming, and died for the sins of the world, then He can come in His second coming and straighten out the mess that the world is in, by restoring God’s theocratic kingdom.
- DeYoung: It’s easy to be prepared to meet Jesus Christ. It’s as simple as ABC.
- A, you admit you’re a sinner before a perfect, holy God.
- B, you believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and that He will save you.
- And C, you call upon Him to come into your heart and life and save you. So we must be prepared. And my exhortation to all listening to what we’re saying is: Be prepared for the soon coming of Jesus Christ. It could be even today.
- Secondly, as Christians, we need to be pure. Remember what Paul wrote to Titus. He said, “Lay aside ungodliness and worldly lusts. Live soberly, godly and righteously.” Now, how do you lay aside that which is evil? How do you live that which is right? “Looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.” That’s the exhortation from Paul to Titus—and as well to us. We need to be pure.
- Then, of course, in light of the purity in which we live, the fact that Christ is coming back, we need to be productive. What you’ve seen on these television programs, what you’ve heard us say, you need to go tell others about it. And be those missionaries to the world who need to hear this message before it’s eternally too late.